Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Finding Cheer after the holidays

After all the joy of the holidays, when the presents are torn apart, the toys put away in cubbies, the Christmas tree/menorah/Holiday decorations are all stored back up, we find ourselves in a slump.  It's still cold out, winter doesn't magically pack itself away and we're left with a huge gap in the upcoming months where you shall see nary a shred of happiness, or paid vacation days.  With the exception perhaps of MLK day, or in my employers case, Cesar Chavez day.

I didn't even know that this was a holiday, and I am 1/5 Hispanic.  I failed my Hispanic roots right there.   (Note:  my dad won't admit this; he says we're Native American, and French.  His parents names were Manuel & Roma.  I got nothing here other than that).

So here we are, back into the numbing work of plodding along, the nights are just starting to back down a little bit from showing up at 4:30 in the afternoon which causes us to feel like you need to rush directly home, right after work, so as not to be caught out at night.  Because nighttime in winter is terrible, worse than anything in the world.  God forbid that you be caught out in it, and especially when you know your pajamas are waiting for you in the snug surroundings of your abode.   This could also just be me, and I am a lazy freak when it comes to the cold.

Something about this time of year is what causes us to hit a sort-of low point with some things.  Maybe it's that sudden ramp down from holiday cheer and frivolity, maybe it's the credit card bills we all know are coming imminently that we didn't want to deal with when we were buying 3 memberships to wine-of-the-month club for ourselves from "Santa", maybe it's because there's a freakish Arctic weather pattern that is fucking up all of our nice Colorado winter weather.  Whatever it is, we are now deep into the pocket of what's called "Seasonal Affected Disorder", or SAD.  Very apropos. 

Sadness doesn't really need to be for any reason.  It could be because all of your pants are magically 1/2" too short, and you didn't notice that you've looked like Harrison Ford in Witness with his Amish pants.  It came come for a spell and leave just as soon as it would like, and doesn't need to announce itself.  But while it's there, you find that even the nice things you usually enjoy make you feel disconnected, and uncaring.   You don't feel like working on your 1,000 piece puzzle, you don't want to snuggle your children as much when they go to bed, you don't care that the dogs just want your presence next to yours.

The sad thing about sad is that all of those things make you happy.  So many things many you happy, and because the chemistry in your mind is out of balance, none of it matters.    In these times I find it impossible to care about basically anything.  I go longer without shaving, showering, planning meals, planning what I'll wear tomorrow (more out of convenience than anything, I'm not so fashionable that I'm planning something interesting, we're talking shoes, pants, shirt; done).

For those of you, like me, who are in this funk?   Well.....  I'm with you.  We're all here together.  If it's a rough time at work, a crap time in your marriage, something with your kids that you neither understand or know what to do about.  Whatever it is;  I'm here too.

You're not alone.

In light of the fact that you might be feeling as down as I am, I've come up with a list of things that might help.  In no specific order:

  • Google "funny memes" on your lunch break.  Or poop break.  Whatever.  Don't GAF at this point.
  • Schedule yourself a 30-90 minute massage. 
    • Take some time for yourself to relax.  Whatever is pushing this shittiness on you can't very well be fed when you're 100% relaxed.  Shit, maybe you'll burst into tears on the massage table, and while it will be embarrassing as hell, you'll need it.   Not that I've done that.  No, not me.
  • Take a walk.
    • This is not trivial.  Seriously. Take a walk and look around you.   Don't forget to observe the ice and slush around you; I don't want to be responsible for you falling on your ass when you were looking up.
  • Pet your animal for a least 30 minutes.
    • Scientifically, this mellows people out, and your animal will get some enjoyment out of it too.  Win, win!
  • Get some.
    • If you're alone, or if you're married/partnered/unioned; take some time to make this happen.  Orgasms = endorphins = you feel better/not like moose crap anymore.
  • Get a small project together.
    • Nothing huge, maybe it's just organizing a desk drawer, or a bathroom cabinet.  Give yourself some purpose and some body movement.  Even if it doesn't help, you'll still appreciate that you did something, even if it's in that same way that Eeyore would embrace good news, like "yeah, well, it didn't help, but at least it's done".
  • Listen to some music.
    • Not depressing shit either, like blues or jazz.  That shit will not help very much aside from lull you to sleep and make you not ever want to wake up.  Try something upbeat.
  • Ask for a hug.
    • Don't ask for hugs from strangers.  People are really weird lately, and you'll likely get maced anymore.   Try a hug from a friend, someone close to you, who cares about you.  Hugging for 20 seconds or more has been proven to raise serotonin levels. Hell, I will hug you, and not mace you.  I probably need a good hug, too.
  • Do something nice for yourself.
    • At the risk of encouraging someone to be frivolous, darn it, it might be time for you to buy something that makes you happy.  What my mom always called "a little pick me up".  A scarf that you loved that you spy at a store, a nail polish that you thing is lovely, a magazine that you wanted to read.  If you've got a job and a few bucks to blow, then the sky could be the limit!  
  • Talk to someone.
    • Maybe it's not as simple as just "cheering yourself up".  If you're down so low that even a stern puppy-swarming cannot bring you a laugh, a chuckle, or even draw the slightest smile (and might even make you cry), it really might be time to make an appointment to discuss what you might be going through.  No one but you needs to know about it too, that's what's beautiful.  If you're like me, I hate telling people when something is seriously wrong.  I hate sympathy for myself and I can't explain why; I just get very guarded when it comes to things like feelings.   And even if it's just a talk over the phone, or a series of appointments just remember that you're trying to help yourself maintain in a world that's very hard to maintain in.  Seriously; it's insanity out here.   
Wherever you are, both emotionally/mentally or physically, I really hope something on this list helps you.  Maybe you'll read it and say "man, she missed this one important thing on her list "___insert action or item____" that would totally work for me", and that's the thing that gives you just a smidge of pep in your step.  I might not have thought of it, but hopefully I put enough inspiration in front of you to find it on your own.

Many hugs, and don't worry;  Seriously, it will all be ok. 

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